Reading Aloud 101: 4 Simple Tips to Create Meaningful Read-Aloud Times with Young Children


Whether you’re a preschool teacher, parent, or caregiver for young children, reading aloud is one of the most important things we can do to nurture the growing minds of young children. But reading books is about so much more than brain development. It creates a wonderful bonding experience between adults and children, teaches kids that books are an important part of daily life, helps them with writing as they get older, and fuels their imagination as they experience the power of story.

As a new school year begins, we want to offer these simple read-aloud tips for you to practice in your classrooms, libraries, and even at home when you read a bedtime story.


1. Introduce the book.

Each time you read a book, introduce them to the author and the illustrator. Look at the cover and the pictures together. Ask them what they think the story will be about. This prepares their minds, grabs their attention, and teaches them the components of books before you’ve even read the first word.


2. Be patient with children as they adjust and mature.

Young children need an adjustment period as they allow their bodies and minds to still. Abruptly transitioning from a playful activity to a quiet reading time may not yield cooperative listeners.

It’s also important to set a pleasing environment. Gentle reminders to pay attention {if you can tell their minds are drifting} create a more attractive atmosphere than “Be quiet!” Listening is an acquired skill and some children are naturally more still and attentive than others. Know that kinesthetic learners actually have improved comprehension and engagement if their bodies can move in some way while they listen. As children mature, so do their attention spans. Be aware of what’s developmentally appropriate for each age.


3. Know the book ahead of time.

Previewing the book allows you to be less focused on reading and more focused on being a fun and engaging reader. If the book is a bit too long, you’ll know to omit certain pages or content you may not feel is necessary. It also allows you to incorporate objects {like food, a stuffed animal, an insect in a jar} as you unpack the story and add this extra dimension.


4. Be an engaging reader.

Use voices for different characters. Dramatic expression pulls young listeners into a story and makes books come alive. Creating positive, imaginative, and engaging experiences with stories from an early age helps fuel their love of books.


Special thanks to the do’s and don’ts of reading aloud to children for their great advice on reading aloud to kids. If you’d like a more in-depth look at reading aloud, we encourage you to read through their list.

What are YOUR favorite read-aloud tips or read-aloud book selections for the young child?

Connect with us in the comments section or through our communities on Facebook and Twitter. Pickens County First Steps is also on Pinterest. Find great ideas for nurturing the young children in your life!

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By Marian Vischer, Communications Coordinator



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